Northern Trust Corporation Reports Data Breach Affecting Clients’ Financial Account Numbers

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On August 30, 2022, Northern Trust Corporation confirmed that the company experienced a data breach after an unauthorized party gained access to sensitive consumer data contained on Northern Trust’s network. According to Northern Trust, the breach resulted in the account numbers of certain individuals being compromised. Recently, Northern Trust sent out data breach letters to all affected parties, informing them of the incident and what they can do to protect themselves from identity theft and other frauds.

If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are in the wake of the Northern Trust data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.

What We Know About the Northern Trust Data Breach

News of the Northern Trust breach is still developing. Currently, the only source of information is from the company’s official filing with the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts. According to this source, the incident involved a breach of the company’s computer system. The available data does not indicate when the breach occurred or when Northern Trust first discovered the incident; however, the company indicates that customers’ names and account numbers were included in the leaked information. Based on the most recent information, it does not appear that Social Security numbers were compromised in the breach.

On August 30, 2022, Northern Trust sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised due to the recent data security incident. So far, the company has only reported the breach in Massachusetts, where it estimates there are approximately 129 people whose information was leaked.

Founded in 1889, Northern Trust is a financial services company based in Chicago, Illinois. The company operates offices in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and 19 countries worldwide, offering a range of services to clients, including investment management and wealth management. Northern Trust Corporation is publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol “NTRS.” Northern Trust employs more than 21,100 people and generates approximately $6 billion in annual revenue.

How Can You Protect Yourself After a Data Breach?

Data breaches are becoming more and more common. In fact, last year, more than 320 million people across the world fell victim to one or more breaches. Given the frequency with which these breaches occur, it is essential that you know what to do in the event your information is leaked in a data breach.

The biggest risk in the wake of a data breach is that a hacker uses your personal information to steal your identity or sells your information on the dark web to another criminal. While there is nothing you can do to prevent a data breach in the first place, there are a few important steps you can take after learning of a breach to reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft or other frauds.

Read the Data Breach Letter to Identify What Information Was Leaked

When you receive a data breach letter in the mail, the first thing to do is to carefully review the data breach letter to determine what information was compromised. Depending on the type of data that was exposed, you may consider additional steps to protect yourself, and while the steps below apply to data breaches generally, they should not be seen as an exhaustive list. This is especially the case if a breach involves highly sensitive information such as your financial account numbers or Social Security number.

Monitor Your Accounts

Often, hackers try to use any stolen information as quickly as possible. This is because, upon receiving notice of the breach, consumers may close their accounts. However, it may take some time for criminals to obtain other information they need to steal your identity. Thus, it is imperative that you diligently check your online bank and credit card accounts, as well as your credit report. This includes checking accounts that were not compromised in the breach.

Sign Up for Free Credit Monitoring

Credit monitoring typically costs consumers between $20 and $40 per month. However, companies typically offer victims free credit monitoring for a period of time—usually between one to two years. Indeed, Northern Trust indicates that it will be providing victims of the breach with this service. It is always a good idea to sign up for free credit monitoring, as it can help you determine if an unauthorized party is trying to access your credit. Further, signing up for free credit monitoring doesn’t impact your rights to bring a data breach lawsuit against the company that leaked your information if the company was negligent leading up to the breach.

Consider Placing a Fraud Alert or a Credit Freeze on Your Credit Account

All three of the major credit bureaus allow you to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit accounts. A fraud alert notifies potential creditors that your information was recently exposed in a data breach, putting them on notice that the person claiming to be you may be an imposter. A credit freeze offers additional protection by preventing any company from pulling your credit without your advance approval. The Identity Theft Resource Center has repeatedly explained that placing a credit freeze on your credit account is the single best way to prevent fraud after a data breach.

Victims of the Northern Trust data breach who are interested in learning more about their options should reach out to an experienced data breach lawyer for immediate assistance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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